Matcha is a unique kind of green tea that has been enjoyed during ancient tea ceremonies for centuries. Originating in Japan, matcha is made from stone-ground green tea leaves that are shade-grown for 2-3 weeks prior to harvest. This shade-grown tea is called Tencha, and it contains a higher amount of chlorophyll and L-Theanine than standard green tea. Unlike traditional green tea that is typically enjoyed in a cup or mug, matcha is prepared in a special matcha bowl using a bamboo whisk.
Although there are countless ways to prepare and enjoy matcha, 2 of the most common preparations are Usucha and Koicha. These are both ceremonial preparations of matcha and are best enjoyed when using high-quality matcha. Let's learn more about the difference between these 2 matcha preparations and uncover how easy it is to enjoy ceremonial matcha at home!
Most of the time when you order matcha at a café or tea house, you will be served Usucha matcha. Usucha is a ceremonial preparation of matcha and the most commonly prepared form of matcha tea. Usucha is made by adding high-quality (ceremonial grade) matcha to a couple ounces of hot water. It is easy to prepare, and it is one of the most popular ways to add matcha to your daily routine.
Making Usucha at Home: To prepare Usucha matcha at home, you will first need a bamboo matcha whisk (chasen) and a matcha bowl. Begin by combining 1-2 grams (~1 teaspoon) of matcha and 2-3 oz of hot water (~170℉) into your matcha bowl. Then, use your matcha whisk to gently whisk the matcha until it becomes frothy and a vibrant green foam covers the top. That's it! Now close your eyes and take a deep breath as you enjoy this calming yet energizing ancient beverage.
It is important to use the correct water temperature when preparing Usucha and most other forms of matcha. Similarly to traditional green tea, it is best to use water that is less than 180℉. If you use water that is too hot to make your Usucha, the result will be a sharp, bitter cup of matcha that is not very enjoyable. This is also a waste of the amazing flavor profile of high-quality matcha! So be sure to pay close attention to the temperature of the water when making matcha at home.
Unlike the thin and watery form of matcha that you will get from the Usucha preparation, Koicha is thick and bold with strong flavors of umami and sweet grass. Koicha is reserved for only the highest quality matcha and is a must-try experience, especially if you have already tried the Usucha preparation.
The first time you try Koicha, you may be overwhelmed by the thick consistency and the intense green tea flavor. This is why it is so important to use the best matcha available for this preparation. The reason Koicha is thicker than Usucha is because of the small amount of water used when preparing Koicha. A standard preparation of Koicha uses less than half the amount of water as Usucha while using twice as much matcha or more!
Making Koicha at Home: To prepare Koicha matcha at home, begin by combining 4+ grams (~2 teaspoon) of matcha and 1-2 oz of hot water (~170℉) into your matcha bowl. Then, use your matcha whisk to gently blend the matcha and water into a thick green paste. Whisk the matcha until it is velvety and smooth, and feel free to add a little extra water if the matcha is too thick for you. Take a deep breath and calm your mind before enjoying this powerful and robust form of matcha.
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